Frank Lampard could face another injury problem N’Golo Kante reportedly did not make France’s matchday squad against Croatia due to a muscle problem.
The 29-year-old was arguably among France’s best players in their goalless draw against Portugal on Sunday.
Playing in the middle of a midfield three alongside Paul Pogba and Adrien Rabiot, Kante recorded a remarkable three interceptions and one tackle, while also making two key passes.
But when France announced their squad to face Croatia on Thursday night, the Chelsea star’s name was neither on the starting eleven nor among 12 players on the bench, with Steven N’Zonzi coming in to replace him in midfield.
And according to a report from L’equipe, Kante was left out of the squad after having muscle pain.
Although the severity of the reported muscle problem remains unclear, given Kante’s fitness record lately, Chelsea manager Lampard should be worried.
According to Transfermarkt, the midfield dynamo missed out on as many as 22 games due to injury since the start of last season alone, with a 21-day absence due to muscle-related injury among them.
Not to mention that Lampard could potentially have come up with a plan without Edouard Mendy and Ben Chilwell, who have also left their national teams due to injuries, ahead of the Southampton clash on Saturday, 17 October.
Lampard will still have Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic for the central midfield roles but considering Kante has started in each of Chelsea’s previous Premier League fixtures, it’s clear how important the France international’s presence is for Lampard’s new double-pivot system.